Kentford is becoming the coolest place to be for BMX and mountain bike riders thanks to a newly opened bike park.
Cyclists have already been travelling from as far as Milton Keynes to the village’s Phoenix Cycleworks, which reopened last week after extensive redevelopment.
It is owned by Jeremy Gredley, son of Stetchworth-based property developer Bill Gredley, who was on hand to officially open the new track.
Manager, Melanie Paddington, said: “We have had nothing but positive feedback. It has been a great start and we are hoping it can build.”
She said the track was designed for ‘intermediate to advanced riders’. It features a wooden bridge, a variety of lines for different abilities, and a pump track in the middle. There are plans to extend a children’s area.
The park also boastsa bike workshop and coffee shop. There are also bike sales in the centre and online.
The park was designed and built by Kye Forte and Shape & Scape Ltd after Phoenix obtained planning permission. Melanie said the park had been closed since September, and she was looking forward to more customers enjoying the course.
“This is what we always wanted to do,” she continued. “We had to wait a while for the planning permission, and there has been some uncertainty with the virus. But we have now opened and we can offer something for all ages. It has become a popular place for a family day out.
“It has always been a solid track here. We have hosted the British cycling national championships on a track over the road from here, and we are developing that site in a couple of weeks’ time.”
Social media has been a big part of the initial promotion of the new course, with videos posted being watched and shared thousands of times.
Successful riders and MTB influencers, Tom Cardy and Kara Beal, have helped to promote Cycleworks.
Other big names who have visited include Ash Finlay, Finley Davies, and Jessica Marriott.
“We are not looking to compete with any other centres because there are not any that offer exactly what we do,” said Melanie.
“We are a destination, not just a bike park. We have already had people drive three hours to come.”
She is one of three full-time members of staff, with others working on a part-time basis. The business is now attracting riders eager to get back on their bikes after lockdown.
“We had to change how we operate, with online bookings and splitting it into two sessions, from 9am-1.30pm, and 2-6pm,”she said.
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